Types of Product Liability

Recipient of the New York Metro Area Rising Star award, Lisa M. Nousek handles complex civil litigation at Boies, Schiller, & Flexner LLP. Now largely focused on commercial litigation, Lisa M. Nousek previously worked in the area of product liability law.

Product liability law offers consumers a form of recourse for injuries sustained from using defective and dangerous items. The law is designed to hold parties–such as manufacturers, wholesalers, and retail stores–within a chain of distribution responsible for failures related to making or selling a safe product.

In terms of defects, there are three types. A design defect occurs before manufacturing and takes into account plans for producing an item. A plaintiff must prove a design has an error or flaw that resulted in the production of an unreasonably dangerous product. Additionally in some states, the plaintiff must show how risk could be reduced with an alternative design.

A manufacturing defect happens during the creation and assembly of a product. Unintentional, manufacturing defects may involve substandard manufacturing practices or contamination during production. A plaintiff’s goal is to show that despite careful manufacturing processes, a product that deviated from its intended design was sold to consumers, thus resulting in an injury.

Marketing defects involve failure to properly label or provide safety warnings for a product. In addition, providing insufficient instructions are grounds for a product liability case. A manufacturer that does not warn users of hidden dangers or supply consumers with clear instructions to avoid hazards is liable for injury caused during the use or misuse of its product.

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